More than half of B&Q stores have reopened to DIY enthusiasts looking to spruce up their homes and gardens during the pandemic lockdown.
The DIY chain opened 14 stores over the weekend to test the waters, then opened a further 61 on Wednesday and another 80 today.
Now, 155 of the retailer’s 297 stores are open to the public, with social distancing and queuing measures in place to stem the flow of shoppers.
A B&Q spokesperson told This is Money it had been looking at how supermarkets have been handling the crisis to help lockdown-proof its stores.
Scroll down to see if your local B&Q store is now open
Ready for lockdown: B&Q has opened 155 of its 297 stores in the last few days
B&Q has been branded an ‘essential’ retailer since the start of the pandemic, stocking everything from toilets and taps to paint and pliers.
After initially closing all its stores since lockdown began on 23 March, the DIY chain now has certain stores open across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, but the bulk of openings are in England.
The 155 B&Q stores now open are located up and down the country – from Romford to Dundee.
So long as shoppers are willing to adhere to social distancing measures, going in-store could be a good option for buyers tired of waiting lengthy periods for online deliveries to arrive at home.
Just after 3pm today, the waiting time to just get on B&Q’s website and shop was over an hour.
While the exact number of people stuck in the retailer’s virtual queue is no longer published, at one point a few weeks ago This is Money spotted that it stood over the 300,000 mark.
Is your local B&Q store now open?
Ashford; Ashton-Under-Lyne; Aylesbury; Barnsley (Dearne Valley); Basildon; Basingstoke; Beckton; Birmingham – Erdington, Halesowen & Solihull; Blackburn; Blackpool; Bognor Regis; Bolton; Brighton; Bristol – Longwell Green & Hartcliffe; Burton upon Trent; Bury; Camborne; Cambridge; Cannock; Castleford (Glasshoughton); Chard; Chelmsford; Cheltenham; Chester; Chesterfield; Clacton-on-Sea; Colchester; Coventry – Alvis Retail Park & Brandon Road; Crawley; Crewe; Darlington; Dartford; Derby; Devizes; Doncaster; Dover; Eastleigh; Exeter; Fareham; Farnborough; Gillingham; Gloucester; Gravesend; Great Yarmouth; Grimsby; Halifax; Handforth; Havant; High Wycombe; Huddersfield; Hull – Ferry Lane & St Andrews Quay; Ipswich; Kings Lynn; Leeds – Beeston Ring Road & Killingbeck; Leicester; Leigh; Liverpool – Aintree & Liverpool Shopping Park; London – Acton, Chiswick, Cricklewood, Croydon, Enfield, Greenwich, Leyton, New Malden, Peckham, Sutton & Yeading; Loughborough; Luton; Macclesfield; Manchester – Cheetham Hill & Trafford Park; Middlesbrough; Milton Keynes; Nelson; Newcastle (Scotswood); Northampton; Northwich; Norwich; Norwich Hall Road; Nottingham – Eastwood; Netherfield & Riverside; Oldham; Peterborough; Plymouth; Portsmouth; Preston (Bamber Bridge); Reading, Romford (Roneo Corner); Romford (Tangent Link); Scunthorpe; Sheffield (Queens Road); Shrewsbury; Slough; Southampton – Hedge End & Nursling; Southend; Speke; St.Helens; Stafford; Stevenage; Stockport; Stockton on Tees; Stoke-On-Trent (Meir Park); Stroud; Sunderland; Sutton in Ashfield; Tamworth; Taunton; Torquay; Tunbridge Wells; Tyne & Wear – North Shields & Washington; Wallasey; Warrington; Watford; Wednesbury; Wellingborough; West Thurrock; Wigan; Yeovil; York – Clifton Moor & Hull Road.
Belfast (Holywood Exchange); Lisburn (Sprucefield); Newtownabbey
Aberdeen – Bridge Of Don & Garthdee Road; Bishopbriggs; Coatbridge; Dundee; East Kilbride; Edinburgh – Hermiston Gait & Newcraighall; Glasgow – Darnley, Great Western Rd & Parkhead; Inverness; Kirkcaldy; Paisley.
Caerphilly; Cardiff; Cardiff (Culverhouse Cross); Merthyr Tydfil; Newport; Swansea.
B&Q’s reopened stores are currently not accepting cash, with only card or contactless payments permitted.
Only products that shoppers can take away with them from the store on the day are available, but you can still snap up something like a standalone sink if that it what you are after.
The retailer has paused its bathroom and kitchen design services, while its paint mixing, timber cutting and key cutting services are also closed for the time being.
For B&Q shoppers still ordering online, the chain said: ‘We continue to offer our Click+Collect service at diy.com.
‘However, it may take several days for orders to be ready, and may be temporarily unavailable at busy times.
‘Customers can also place orders for contact-free home delivery for a limited range of products at diy.com too.’
Virtual queue: The online waiting time to get online at B&Q stood at over an hour today
The new normal: Staff at B&Q have been kitted out with protective gear
Essential: B&Q has been branded an ‘essential’ retailer since the start of the pandemic
Safety first: B&Q has implemented queuing and social distancing measures at its open stores
Amid signs that a growing number of trades are going back to work, B&Q’s ‘TradePoint’ services are now open at its reopened stores, but purchases can still be made online.
As with other retailers keeping their doors open, B&Q has introduced a string of social distancing measures to ensure shoppers and staff stay safe.
The chain is ‘strictly’ limiting the number of shoppers able to go in its stores at any one time and most will end up having to queue beforehand.
Stores now have ‘designated queuing areas’ outside, dotted with two-metre markings to help people stay sufficiently apart.
Shoppers can expect two-metre marking throughout reopened stores, as well as perspex screens at checkouts.
Rival: Homebase has opted to temporarily keep all its stores shut amid the pandemic
Urging shoppers to remain cautious, B&Q said ‘We’re urging all customers to follow the Government’s social distancing guidelines, to shop responsibly only for what is necessary and to be patient whilst we give them the best possible service in the safest possible way.’
What are other DIY stores doing?
Screwfix has kept most of its stores open for online click and collect orders, but is encouraging shoppers to use its home delivery service, even though orders may take a while to be processed.
Homebase has opted to temporarily keep all its stores shut, but is still operating online services and home delivery. But, again, delivery times will be longer than usual.
All Wickes stores remain closed, but it is open online and home deliveries are still available.
The chain, owned by Travis Perkins, is also offering click and collect services from outside its stores, adding that demand remained ‘very high’. Showroom deliveries and installation services are on hold.
Five top tips for DIY enthusiasts
Lisa Evans from online site Price Your Job, has told This is Money that DIY enthusiasts need to remember the following points when embarking on any new projects at home:
1. Safety First – No matter how experienced or competent you maybe at DIY, always wear protective clothing such as gloves, safety goggles and dust mask.
2. Paint smartly – Many will undoubtedly be painting during lockdown, to keep brushes and rollers moist, you can wrap them in cling film instead of wasting time/effort washing them.
3. Deal with squeaky door hinges and floors – A quick and cost-effective way to deal with squeaky door hinges or floorboards is by applying talcum powder, vegetable oil or olive oil on them with a towel or tissue.
4. Screw endurance – Whether you are hanging pictures or shelves over lockdown, to ensure the screws never come undone, add a touch of clear nail varnish to the hole just before tightening.
5. Electrical safety – When trying to fix or check electrical appliances or connections, remember to always switch off the power and remove the fuse or circuit breaker. Also, if you can, try wear rubber-sole shoes when fixing or checking on electrics.
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